Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Google Block Party

The highlight of Monday June 28 at ISTE had to be the Google Block Party.  The invitation had gone out during the day to sign up for the party and they appropriated an outdoor area by the Performing Arts Centre. It had all the Google hallmarks:  primary colours, great food and drink, and light-hearted fun.  The party came complete with jugglers, magician, a kitchen sink band, party games with lots of Google prizes and loot bags to take your prizes and lollies home in.
On arrival we all queued to have our photos taken for hologram luggage labels.  The principal who accompanied me got talking to Fun Productions about the possibility of getting them made at school to give every five year old one as a fun way to commemorate their first day at school.
All in all a great way to wrap up the first official day of the ISTE conference.

One of the many Google takeouts during the day was a tip shown to me by Cindy Lane. Google have recently released templates for Building Better Balloons in your Google Earth Tours.  These will be fun to use for Google Earth Lit Trips.  The layouts of the information balloons are already done for you if you use one of these templates.


  1. Hi, my name is Anna Dumas, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama under professor Dr. Strange. I will be commenting on three of your posts over a week's time. The Google party seems like it was a bunch of fun, but what was the goal of it? I am uncertain as to what ISTE is and would be interested in hearing more about it, and how you will be using Google Earth and the new information balloon template in your lessons. Please feel free to take a look at my blog if you have time.

  2. Hi Anna,

    As a colleague of Dorothy (we are both Google Certified Teachers), I can kick in with a thought. The party is about what is missing at many schools across the country - an identification with and excitement for one's colleagues that leads to collaboration and innovation. One of the best elements of the Google world is its emphasis on creativity (see for some thoughts on this).

    As for ISTE, it is an organization ( that sponsors perhaps the most vibrant educational technology conference in the U.S. In some academic conference settings, people seem to take themselves a bit too seriously, but at any good ed-tech conference, the focus is normally on the interesting things people are doing for and with their students, and their excitement for sharing ideas. Major shot in the arm of wonderful energy, these conferences are.

    I hope that's helpful - good luck with your program at USA!


  3. @Ruston Thank you very much for giving @Anna a much more complete answer than I ever could have! What I was trying to convey - poorly - was the sense of fun that Google brings to everything they put their hand to. From the Googleplex to learning to a Block Party. This sense of fun is important in itself, but it is not merely frivolous - it is highly energising and leads to creative thinking.
    I have been enjoying travelling around this beautiful country, but have been too busy experiencing and have neglected writing on this blog. Hopefully I will publish a back log of thoughts and learning in the next few days.